Undergraduate Program Architecture

PSU graduate architecture student working on a project

Architecture Bachelor's Degree and Minor Overview

Immerse yourself in the creativity, technical knowledge, cultural history, and design experience you will need to succeed in the field of architecture. Our bachelor's degree in Architecture is a four-year pre-professional undergraduate program that prepares students for the two-year Master of Architecture degree or for design positions in architecture firms.

Our students are schooled in the broad tools and skills needed to work in the field, as well as the architect’s ethical responsibility to address critical environmental and social challenges in the urban setting.

The program is structured around a four-year sequence of required, thematic design studios, from freshman drawing classes to senior architectural interventions in the city. These studio experiences form the heart of the architecture degree, with rigorous hands-on instruction in drawing and making skills, design principles, and project-based learning, often in collaboration with community nonprofits and other organizations. Students' design studio coursework is enriched by required and elective lectures and seminars in architectural history, humanities, and tectonics. These seminars introduce, analyze, and discuss the complexities of the cultural and technological influences upon the making of architecture.

Our undergraduate program provides a clear path toward becoming a professional architect. Through our four-year undergraduate program, followed by our two-year Master of Architecture degree (also known as the “4 + 2 model”), you can launch your architecture career and go on to earn your professional license. Even better: our IPAL program allows you to jump ahead of your peers by starting your AXP (internship) credits while you are still an undergraduate.

Degree Details

Architecture Bachelor's Degree or Minor: Why PSU?

Located in Portland's busy urban center, the School of Architecture is housed in Shattuck Hall, an elegant 1915 elementary school building transformed into a dynamic contemporary learning environment. Here, our students are immersed in a sequence of thematic design projects, exploring ideas through diverse media, making drawings and models, and fabricating full-size artifacts. As part of the studio immersion experience, our students are provided with a desk and work area, as well as 24/7 access to the studio space. We also offer a full range of fabrication facilities including concrete and plaster casting, welding and metalworking, woodworking, digital milling, and 3D printing.

Our full-time faculty and adjunct professors are drawn from the vibrant Portland design community. All faculty are involved in design, research, creative work, and/or practice. Our close connections to the Pacific Northwest architecture and design community give our students many chances to interact with professionals in the field, often leading to work opportunities in local firms.

Portland is our laboratory, and you don't have to look far to see where our students have contributed. Students have the opportunity to have a real impact through their studio projects. In past years, our fourth-year and graduate students have completed projects with Trimet, the city's public transportation system, and created sleeping pods for Portlanders without homes. One of the program's most exciting real-world projects involving both undergraduates and graduates is the design and construction of a zero-waste stage for the Pickathon Music Festival from reused materials.

PSU School of Architecture is one of a small number of architectural schools accepted to participate in the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) program, which allows students to earn a NAAB-accredited degree and complete the AXP and ARE requirements for licensure concurrently.

What can I do with a bachelor's degree or minor in Architecture?

With a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Portland State University, you are eligible to apply to an accredited two-year Master of Architecture program (including PSU's accredited two-year Master of Architecture) and complete the licensure process. Most students graduating with a BA or BS in Architecture move on to a Master of Architecture degree, either at PSU or at another highly regarded NAAB-accredited university. Those not pursuing a graduate degree often take jobs as design staff, draftspersons, and marketing support in many of the Portland area’s most acclaimed architecture firms, while others have been hired as project managers in construction and engineering firms, space designers for major retailers, and apparel companies, graphic designers, and more.

Featured Courses

  • ARCH 100 Introduction to Architecture
  • ARCH 101 Introduction to Environmental Design
  • ARCH 120 Visual Communication 1
  • ARCH 121 Visual Communication 2
  • ARCH 280 Design Fundamentals Studio 1
  • ARCH 281 Design Fundamentals Studio 2
  • ARCH 380 Architectural Design Studio 1
  • ARCH 381 Architectural Design Studio 2
  • ARCH 382 Architectural Design Studio 3
  • ARCH 480 Architectural Design Studio 4
  • ARCH 481 Architectural Design Studio 5


  • ARCH 423 Advanced Architectural Graphics and Media
  • ARCH 425 Architectural Computer Graphics I
  • ARCH 426 Architectural Computer Graphics II
  • ARCH 431 Studies in Contemporary Urban Design
  • ARCH 435 Topics in Modernism
  • ARCH 462 Advanced Architectural Materials
  • ARCH 467 Building Structures


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

The BA/BS in Architecture forms the foundation for the PSU 2-year Master of Architecture program, which is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.